A MAN left paralysed from the chest down in a horrific skydiving accident is preparing to take to the skies once more.
Peter Hamilton, 34, broke his neck 18 months ago after landing badly while skydiving in America.
He was treated at Salisbury District Hospital’s Duke of Cornwall Spinal Treatment Centre where he met 17-year-old Ben Ager who was also left paralysed by an accident.
The pair vowed that one day they would skydive together and on Sunday their dream will come true when they jump from 10,000ft at Netheravon Airfield.
They will be joined by four members of staff from the spinal unit and aim to raise thousands of pounds for the spinal injury charity Back Up.
Mr Hamilton started parachute jumping while studying at university and he jumped regularly after moving to New York for his work.
He was doing his 523rd jump when he landed badly, rolling several times and suffering severe, permanent spinal cord damage.
After months of gruelling treatment and rehabilitation, Mr Hamilton says he is looking forward to jumping once more, and his enthusiasm has clearly been infectious.
“Ben was in the bed next to mine in the spinal unit,” he said. “He had told me he had always fancied doing a skydive but that there was now no chance of him ever doing that,” he said.
“I was quick to tell him I had seen many disabled people complete jumps and we vowed there and then that one day we would do a jump together.
“Before too long we’d recruited another patient, Simon Thompson, to join us – and shortly after that we managed to persuade four members of staff from the spinal unit to jump too.
“I’m nervous because it’s been so long since my last jump but I’m also very excited. I think this will probably be my last jump but once I’m up there feeling the rush of falling through the sky there is every chance I’ll change my mind.
“Back Up is a great charity and I have them to thank for helping to organise this jump. They do really great work with people who have suffered a spinal cord injury and hopefully the money I raise will help them to continue their important work.”
To sponsor Mr Hamilton visit justgiving.com/Jump-524 .